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Stefan Rotaru – Fotograf

Together with Stefan Rotaru of Funstar we designed the user experience and developed a truly responsive site in order for him to showcase the highlights of his portfolio.

Stefan Rotaru, a web designer who’s also a professional photographer, needed a portfolio web site for his rapidly growing photography business. He started developing and designing it and, after he got to the point where he had full page comps, he asked for my opinion. Since we’ve been good friends for many years , I jumped at the opportunity to help improving the user experience, accessibility and to simply make the website shine while making obvious the high quality of his work.

Liquid Adaptive Layout

Apart from the the usual details which make a portfolio website successful, one of the suggestions I made is to develop a responsive layout in order to cater for the various screen resolutions and devices used by people to browse websites. So, one of the challenges of the front-end side of the project was developing an adaptive layout to work on all the popular browsers in use at the moment. To take it a step further, it’s a liquid layout to begin with.

Structure

As usual since it became a proposal, the structure is coded in conformity with the latest HTML specification (at the time called HTML5), in order to have a semantically rich page structure.

CSS Styling

In order to do all the above, using @media conditional queries and a painstakingly setting rules for various resolutions did one part of the job. In order to cater for Internet Explorer’s weak support of current web standards, a separate stylesheet loaded with conditional comments was the way to go. Even more so, for the never dying Internet Explorer 6, an additional stylesheet was required.

Some advanced CSS3 styles are only available to the latest browser versions, while less capable ones get different treatment.

Interactivity

JavaScript, of course, with the help of the great library which is jQuery.

The Publishing Platform

Given the rapid succession of new projects and the need for further extensibility, the website needed a content management system. The obvious choice was WordPress, because of  at least 3 obvious reasons: ease of use, relatively facile extensibility and my extensive experience with the platform.

Connectivity

Because of the nature of the photography business and the online habits of this day and age, content has to be present on more than one web estate. Also, the publishing platform must allow for one update to generate multiple other updates on social platforms.

The obvious solution is the integration of WordPress with Flickr, which in turn has to push updates to Facebook. The process is something like this: once you publish a new photo or album, it gets pushed to Flickr through its API. After that the native integration of Flickr and Facebook takes care of the rest.

Tight Time-frame

The last challenge, as important as the other, was the short time we had at our disposal in order to get the website up and running. Working together was as  satisfactory as always, and because we worked in parallel, we were able to reduce development time and launch the site well before the required deadline.

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Stefan Rotaru – Fotograf